Trump did not initially want to post a video decrying loyalists whose actions he broadly supported – and whom he said he “liked” a day earlier – but he told his staff to prepare a speech and then he would decide.
Once he read the brief script they had prepared, Trump agreed to record it Thursday evening – a relief for senior executives, though concerns remained that he could go back in his final days in function given that his real position remained unchanged: that he lost the election unfairly.
Yet, having now admitted that he will no longer serve a second term, Trump has started to think about how he will spend his final days in the White House, according to people familiar with the matter.
But with Trump putting an end, for now, to his bogus attempt to overturn the election results, the hope among advisers is that he will focus, finally, on his post-presidency.
The Aides still have a long list of executive actions they hope he will sign in his final days, including an update on the US buyout arrangements. There is talk of a trip next week to see progress on the border wall, one of Trump’s proudest achievements. And a series of pardons, potentially including for himself and his family, are expected in the coming days.
Helpers are still discussing a farewell speech or interview, but admits that the video Trump released Thursday saying “a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20” is as close to a concession as it is. will get.
“My focus now is on ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless power transition,” he said, speaking monotonously and reading from a teleprompter. “This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
Trump’s highly scripted video acknowledging that he will be leaving the White House is the tone his advisers hope he maintains when he leaves office. Thursday’s video was stopped, recorded inside and appeared to be heavily edited. Trump showed little emotion in admitting that his term as president was coming to an end.
Earlier today, Trump canceled a visit to Camp David scheduled for the weekend, according to a source familiar with the planning, which would likely have been his last time in presidential retirement. He had planned to go before the riots but decided Thursday, amid questions about Cabinet resignations and defections, to stay in Washington. Other “last” ones are still in the air, like his last flight on Air Force One.
Trump must also quickly decide when and how he wants to leave the White House. Officials still don’t expect him to attend the inauguration, although he has asked councilors if he should. To some, he pointed out that this was not excluded.
Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump cursed on Wednesday after telling the president he could not overturn the election results, according to a source familiar with the conversation, could attend depending on the invitation.
At this point, Trump is expected to visit his Mar-a-Lago members-only resort in Palm Beach, Fla., After leaving the White House for the last time, despite his displeasure with recent renovations to his private apartment.
While disputing the election results, Trump declined to engage in discussions about how he wanted to spend his final days in the White House or what he wanted to do next.
Officials are anxious that conservations can now begin, hoping to spend time focusing on Trump’s ‘legacy’, even though many inside the building believe he will be irrevocably tarred by his behavior which led to the riots this week.